Frequently asked questions about 5G

Find an answer on some of the more common questions about 5G such as: what is 5G, where and how can you use it?

5G is the next generation of mobile broadband. This new technology provides the infrastructure necessary for the digital transformation of the future as it promotes cloud computing, integration and interoperability of connected devices. Smart cities and the automation of our society will only be possible through the deployment of 5G.

Every day, more and more data is consumed (video, drones, Internet of Things, etc.) and an increasing number of devices (smartphones, computers, sensors, video cameras, cars, robots, etc.) are connected at the same time. The infrastructure put in place several years ago is no longer able to support so many devices simultaneously. 5G is the solution of the future, as it is able to support an even greater number of devices securely and without loss of quality.

With speeds up to 10 times faster than those of 4G, 5G will allow you to surf the mobile web much faster than today. With speeds of up to several Gb/sec, 5G is a viable alternative to fiber in areas where fiber cannot be deployed.

But, above all, latency will be dramatically reduced (theoretically, from 10 to 1 thousandth of a second). Latency is the response time required for two devices to communicate with each other. In other words, with 5G, latency will be close to zero. This is a crucial advantage for applications requiring an immediate response in the exchange of data and information (connected cars, robotization of production lines, virtual reality images, etc.).

True to its image as a pioneer in network development in Belgium, Proximus intends to continue its leadership with the deployment of 5G. We were already the first operator in Belgium to test 5G in 2016 and to pass the first outdoor test in 2018. We were the first to announce its official deployment in 2020.

However, the roll-out of 5G and its optimization will take a few more years, and we are sparing no effort or investment in order to eventually offer this experience to as many people as possible.

Check out the 5G network coverage map to allow you to follow the progress of our deployment.

Belgium is slightly behind in the deployment of this new technology. Some Asian countries already have millions of users and in Europe, some operators have already widely deployed the technology in their countries.

All mobile technology uses a well-defined frequency. For example, Wi-Fi uses the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. For 2G, 3G and 4G mobile technologies, the frequencies are more varied with 800, 900, 1800, 2100 and 2600 MHz. For the deployment of 5G, new frequency bands have been blocked worldwide. More precisely, this initially concerns the 700 MHz and 3.5 GHz bands before a band beyond 24 GHz is made available.

The high bands used by 5G will offer higher speeds than 4G. But that's not all: 5G technology also uses less electricity, which improves its energy efficiency.

So the 5G revolution is more than just gigabytes. This is a new technology and a new spectrum that will allow us to operate our network in optimal fashion.

At the same amount of transmission power, the higher you go up in the frequency bands, the smaller the area covered. In the 3.5 GHz band, 5G will therefore require more antennas if it is to provide coverage similar to 4G and throughput/speeds that are in line with the expectations raised by the technology.

There is indeed a band available in the 700 MHz range which allows an attractive coverage but, in terms of speed, it remains limited.

Indeed, several elements are essential to offer a 5G experience to the best of one's abilities:

  • Technology, i.e. how data is processed and how systems work.
  • Spectrum/frequencies, i.e. the widening of bandwidths.
  • EMF (ElectroMagnetic Field) standards, i.e. the rules to be observed concerning exposure to electromagnetic fields.

As far as the first element is concerned, Proximus is ready and our network is able to operate 5G. On the other hand, we will have to wait for the formation of a new government to organize the spectrum auction and grant the licenses. Only then will the regions be able to review the EMF standards.

Until these three conditions are met, Proximus has decided to use its own bandwidth and to "refarm" its technology from April 2020. This is a first improvement of our network, a first step towards the world of 5G, and we want to involve our customers, partners and employees in it.

Yes, it is. In 2015, before the 3.4-3.8 GHz frequency band was blocked for 5G worldwide, the company CityMesh obtained 40 MHz in this band from the Belgian regulator until 2025.

It is currently unclear how the regulator will change the band obtained at the launch of the 5G auction.

  • You must be in an area covered by the 5G network: consult our network coverage map.
  • You must have a device that is compatible with the Proximus 5G network: check out our current offer. We are continuously working with suppliers to expand our offer as quickly as possible. There are other 5G devices on the Belgian or foreign market, but at the moment the other devices are not compatible with the Proximus 5G network. 
  • You must have a specific Enterprise Mobile price plan that includes 5G: consult our mobile plans.

If all these conditions are met, the smartphone will display "5G" at the top of the screen and can then operate on this network.

Indeed, 5G requires a device compatible with this technology and the Proximus 5G network. If a smartphone or other connected device is not 5G compatible, it will not be able to detect this network and the 5G experience (higher speed and lower latency) will simply not be possible. The device will continue to operate according to the technology (4G or even 3G) with which it is equipped.

It is also important to specify that only the 5G smartphones marketed by Proximus are configured for our network. Any other device could experience difficulties connecting to the Proximus 5G network.

Proximus is gradually expanding its range of 5G compatible devices. Check out our current offer. We are continuously working with suppliers to expand our offer as quickly as possible.

Yes, a specific Enterprise Mobile price plan that includes 5G is required to take advantage of this technology. Proximus offers several rate plans that provide the 5G experience and are particularly suited to the needs of businesses. Discover our mobile plans.

At present, Proximus has not yet concluded any 5G roaming agreement with other countries. It is therefore not possible at the moment to benefit from the 5G experience abroad. In the long term, however, the situation will evolve towards greater harmonization and discussions are underway between operators. In the meantime, it is still possible to use a 5G device on the 2G, 3G or 4G networks available on location.

No, 5G is not intended to replace an existing Wi-Fi connection. 5G is an alternative in areas where no Wi-Fi is available, where a VDSL or fiber Internet connection is not possible. The best experience is to combine a fixed Internet connection at the office with the 5G network when on the move.

The Mobile Coverage Extender Pro service makes it possible to extend the Proximus public mobile network inside buildings and thus offer better indoor mobile coverage (voice and data) to users. At present, there are no solutions to extend 5G coverage via this type of device. However, it is still possible to use Mobile Coverage Extender Pro with the 3G network.

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